August 15-16, Thimphu: The community of Geney geog organised the first annual mushroom festival at Chizhi Goenpa in collaboration with the Department of Forest and Park Services (DoFPS) and the Tourism Council of Bhutan. The festival showcased the different mushrooms for sale, food stalls and cultural programs by community and schools. The event was aimed to help preserve and promote the culture and tradition as well as to improve the livelihood of the community.
The festival also consisted awareness programs by the National Mushroom Centre on mushroom, wild mushrooms and mushroom poisoning. Similarly, the Department of Livestock on diary development and animal health along with the National Organic Program and DoFPS exhibited awareness in their respective fields.
The Chief Guest, the Hon’ble National Assembly Speaker, Lyonpo Jigme Zangpo, stated ‘The main objective of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests is self sufficiency’. He encouraged that the community maintain self sufficiency in food, environmental health, ecosystem and water sources.
Further, Lyonpo highlighted that such festive occasion invites visitors, and said ‘by inviting visitors and tourists, we can promote income of the community and help improve our livelihood. In order to welcome the visitors, it was pointed out that the community trained themselves in cooking, housekeeping and in guiding. He said this will not only help solve the unemployment issue for the younger generations but also create a platfor for improving the livelihood of the family.
The mushroom in Geney plays a huge importance in the livelihood and food security. Of which Matsutake mushroom is the major source of cash income to the farmers but its farming is highly subsistence. The individual farmer’s income varies from Nu. 10,000 to Nu. 85,000.The origin of this mushroom trade is traced back to Aum Kuchum of Tshochekha in Geney in 1988.
The income earned by the community is usually spent for their basic needs including their children’s education, household items and farming tools.
The event also included a Ministry of Health representative, Mr. Gyembo Dorji. He basically highlighted on drinking habits of people and its implications. He shared that ‘The money which is to be invested on nutritious food is wasted on alcohol’ and thereby he encouraged that people stop drinking if possible, if not to reduce its consumption. Additionally, he created awareness on the smoking habits and the spread of HIV aids. Free endoscopy was also provided for the community.
The event was organised as per the instruction from the Hon’ble Agriculture Minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji to celebrate the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty The 4th King.
-Reported by Tashi Yangzom with photos by Choidup Zangpo ICS
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